The Stream, July 9, 2020: U.S. Children Who Rely on Private Well Water at Greater Risk for Lead Exposure, Study Warns

The Global Rundown

New research claims that U.S. children who rely on private wells face a higher risk of being exposed to lead in their drinking water. A fertilizer company in Russia temporarily suspends operations after detecting high levels of calcium chloride in one of the rivers that supplies its water. Iraq’s crumbling economy furthers water insecurity in the nation. The death toll from flooding and torrential rainfall in Japan nears 60. Flooding in China obstructs high schoolers from taking the gaokao, a crucial college entrance exam. 

“Don’t worry students! We are coming!” –Caption on a video released by police in Huangmei County, China, in reference to attempts to ferry high school students to the gaokao college entrance exam. The exam, which is the main determining factor for college entry in China, was already delayed by a month due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, recent flooding is hampering students’ ability to take the rescheduled gaokao. In some areas, officials loaded students into tractors to help them cross waist-deep water. Huangmei officials say the floodwaters have also deluged fields and caused a local dam to leak. The Washington Post

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By The Numbers

9 to 10 percent Amount that Iraq’s economy is expected to decline this year. Low oil prices and the Covid-19 pandemic have destabilized the nation and accelerated the country’s water insecurity. Hospitals are reporting a spike in illnesses caused by contaminated water, and infrastructure in the country continues to erode. Reuters

58 Death toll from flooding in Japan as of Wednesday. Severe storms and subsequent floods have inundated the southern island of Kyushu for over a week and more precipitation is in the forecast. The rainfall is some of the most extreme that the region has experienced in decades. The New York Times

Science, Studies, and Reports

New research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that children whose drinking water comes from unregulated private wells are 25 percent more likely to have elevated lead levels in their blood. The study found that children in low-income households and majority-Black neighborhoods were especially at high risk for exposure to well water containing toxic lead levels. The Guardian

On the Radar

Uralchem, a Russian fertilizer manufacturer, announced that it will temporarily suspend operations at its Azot plant in the Perm region after high amounts of calcium chloride were found in a river that supplies the plant. After recording high pollutant levels in the river earlier this week, Uralchem raised concerns that the calcium chloride would damage equipment at the plant and is asking local authorities to investigate the spike in contaminant levels. Reuters

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